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Organisational
Development

Strategic Planning and implementation

Strategic Planning and implementation

So, you need a winning strategy. But even a winning strategy is worthless without the capacity to implement. With the complexities inherent in your organisation, from the conflicting opinions of individuals to the various and sometimes opposing streams of information and knowledge, the challenges are vast. By using processes that have benefited hundreds of organisations, we can help you conceive, develop and reach consensus on your strategy and support you in producing the expected benefits. It’s about creating coherence and alignment in order to implement your strategy at speed.

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Whole Systems Working

Whole Systems Working

Gone are the days when all the relevant people in your organisation sat in one room, at the same time. Gone are the days when managers made linear decisions, free from the impact of our interconnected world. In our high-speed, global, networked economy, your organisation needs speedy adaptation to keep up. 

The solution lies in Complex Problem Solving using the Whole System, which puts your entire workforce and stakeholders in the same room at the same time, albeit virtually.

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Organisational Culture Change

Organisational Culture Change

It’s no secret that culture is paramount to organisational success. But developing and sustaining one that supports employee participation in decision making, adaptable work methods, sensible work designs and reasonable and clear goals isn’t an easy task. Add the pressure of a fast-paced and ever-changing economy, and it’s easy to see why some organisations fail to develop and implement an adaptive solution.

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Change Management

Change Management

Introducing a complex change carries substantial risks of failure for the organisation, not to mention the reputational damage to its senior managers and programme directors. To put the risk into perspective, only one in five change initiatives are a success. 

The good news is that recent advances in the field are providing new methodologies, and these new approaches accelerate the implementation of change.

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Post-Merger and Acquisition Integration

Post-Merger and Acquisition Integration

Mergers and acquisitions hold great promise for increasing shareholder value, productivity and growth. On the surface, there are substantial financial gains to be made. But statistically, two out of three mergers and acquisitions fail to realise the promised benefits, and we know why. The best solution lies in timely and structured preparation and planning, from due diligence to post-merger vision and strategy and post-merger and acquisition integration.

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Business-led Project and Programme Management

Business-led Project and Programme Management

Like a strong undercurrent beneath a seemingly calm sea, the linear, elegant world of the Gantt chart is underpinned by complex and shifting variables. And with variables come the potential to disrupt The Plan. Without an integrated, coherent, excellently managed project environment, you can look forward to projects that are delayed, failed or stalling.

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Team Development and Group Facilitation

Team Development and Group Facilitation

Effective communication isn’t easy to achieve, especially when you put a whole team in a room. Team development and facilitation helps teams migrate as quickly as possible from talking about the work to doing the work and getting business results. Whether it’s an intact team or dysfunctional team, we get them to agree on actions, decisions and solutions, fast.

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Managing dispersed & diverse environments

Managing dispersed & diverse environments

Nowadays, face-to-face contact with colleagues is a rarity. Even if you sit in the same office, you’re more likely to send them an email than approach their desk. And if they’re scattered around the country, or even the world, then you’re highly unlikely to even meet them. Add the fact that they don't necessarily share all of your cultural values or assumptions, and the challenges are considerable. This is called a dispersed environment, and it has a substantial impact on the overall functioning of your organisation.

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Executive Coaching

Executive Coaching

If you want your people to be at the top of their game, coaching will hone their skills and reignite their drive. Whether it’s those on the front line who feel uninspired, pressurised or simply want to raise their game; or others who need to be brought up to speed, given direction or simply time to reflect, we have the models and frameworks to help you deal with intellectual, interpersonal or personal issues. Our consultants have installed whole organisation coaching systems, trained coaches, trained trainers and provided help with policy development, audio-visual materials, even standards, audit and evaluation of coaching.

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a very simple meditation practice that focuses our attention onto the present moment, to ourselves, others and the world around us.

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Personal
Development

Coaching

Coaching

You’ve heard the phrase ‘think before you speak’. Well, in the business world, it’s ‘think before you do’. That’s because with fewer and busier managers, employees are expected to think for themselves and act accordingly. 
The decisions may be small, but their cumulative effect weighs heavily on the success of the organisation at large. Thus, managers, team leaders and team members need structured opportunities in coaching sessions to maintain focused, productive and intelligent performance.

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Facilitation

Facilitation

Effective management of the array of ideas, opinions, knowledge, skills, perspectives and intelligences within your organisation is vital to its success. Only through reconciling the pool of talent at your fingertips will your eyes open to the breadth of business solutions available to you. 

But in our fast-moving and ever-changing times, we must find rapid approaches to reach a consensus. This requires layers of facilitations skills, and we offer a comprehensive service that will bring new meaning to the ‘harmony’.

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Internal Consultancy

Internal Consultancy

Nowadays, it’s not unheard of to outsource basic HR processes, which means the transactional, administrative core of the HR function within organisations is threatened. Thus, competent HR professionals are looking to enhance their capability and build partnering relationships with business heads. The challenge then for the HR professional is to become Internal Consultants to the business heads. We can help your HR team become strategic business partners so they can provide a more valuable service.

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Strategic Account Management

Strategic Account Management

Planning account strategy takes senior people away from direct client contact and face-to-face sales. What you need is cost effective, time effective account management that is sustainable. 

From experience, we know that structured approaches to Strategic Account Management yield productive long-term relationships, future business and sales. All good things and all vital to business success. We will help you build an infrastructure that’ll evolve as your business evolves, continually producing positive effects efficiently and rapidly.

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Influencing, Negotiating & Partnership

Influencing, Negotiating & Partnership

The secret to a successful organisation is the relationships within it. A solid foundation of goodwill that can be maintained in the long-term will help problems to be dealt with diplomatically and effectively. With a soup of different personalities and objectives to consider, you have to learn how to manage these relationships in order to win contracts and deliver on them. The same goes for your competition – the successful organisation needs to cooperate and accommodate in order to create opportunities rather than conflicts. We’ll teach you the techniques to build high-trust relationships that are solid and sustainable.

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Selling Business Solutions

Selling Business Solutions

Once upon a time, selling business solutions was down to the ‘knack’ of the individual. You either had it, or you didn’t. We now know that there are specific tactics and behaviors that increase the chances of closing a high value sale, and these can be taught. But, it’s not just about training people and hoping the skills are sustainable, it’s about unlearning old habits and embedding the new behaviours into daily work life.

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Transformational Leadership

Transformational Leadership

When you’re at the top, you’re likely to work through several teams, departments and disciplines. Thus, face-to-face contact is few and far between. 

But if the opportunity to micro-manage no longer exists, how do you build loyalty, trust, admiration and respect? 

Transformational leadership empowers others to take more initiative in their work and inspires commitment, self-confidence and the ability to lead teams within an environment of rapid change. We’ll provide the learning opportunities, frameworks and techniques that will enable each leader to find their own answer to the key elements of transformational leadership.

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Balanced Scorecard

Balanced Scorecard

Hands up who puts day-to-day operations before strategy. Considering 90% of organisations fail to implement their top team's strategy, the hands should be plentiful. The Balanced Scorecard is a performance management system focused on strategic measures to encapsulate strategy concisely, balance financial and non-financial goals, respond to fast-changing market conditions and communicate this effectively throughout the organisation.

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Change Management

Change Management

In the business world, change is good. In fact, considering the fast-paced world we live in, change is inevitable. But complex changes carry substantial risks. 

The upside is that these risks are avoidable. Collectively, we have hundreds of years' experience of designing and delivering change initiatives, captured in our change management programmes. We will help you plan and prepare specific initiatives, using the principal elements of this proven approach.

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a very simple meditation practice that focuses our attention onto the present moment, to ourselves, others and the world around us.

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Strategic Planning and implementation

A strategy fails when the leader computes and then expects their workforce to implement. Lack of ownership really is the nail in the coffin, and considering analysts who value companies set greatest store not by the quality of the strategy but by the organisation's ability to implement it, even the most brilliant strategy is worthless if you can’t apply it effectively.

There are two significant implementation challenges to overcome:

  • The inherent intellectual problem of creating a winning strategy in the first place.
  • Creating alignment and coherence in the people system (the social network) that must devise, implement and maintain the strategic effort.
Let's describe them and then discuss our approach.

Creating a winning strategy: the logic bomb


Your organisation operates in a landscape teeming with such complex variables that the chains of cause and effect are often too intricate to fathom, which makes it impossible to factor all of them into your strategy. Thus, a definitive strategy can never be achieved. Plus, a truly sophisticated understanding of the strategic problem only reveals itself once you’ve implemented your strategic solution and thus brought the problems to the surface.

Coherence and fragmentation in the social network

The workplace has become increasingly democratised: it is informed by flatter structures, empowered teams, partnering, stakeholders, shareholders, the various disciplines, agencies, functions, equal opportunities and employment legislation. Even if you were so inclined, stuff cannot be managed just by diktat in the modern world.

In this environment, it’s easy to see how people might feel more separated than united. The challenge is to create shared understandings of the different perspectives all these people hold as a preamble to the commitment to search for solutions.

Our approach to Strategic Planning and Implementation


We can help you identify the appropriate tools and approaches for developing your strategy and facilitating your organisation's thinking. With excellent processes that have helped over a hundred organisations, we minimise the risk of launching a strategy with avoidable errors and help you address the implementation issues.

In addition to helping you conceive, develop and reach consensus on your strategy, we support you in producing the expected benefits. Plus, to avoid the strategy becoming worthless due to passing its sell-by-date, we help implement your strategy at speed through:
  • Engaging the whole organisation in the strategy to create coherence and alignment
  • Personal coaching, supporting the sponsors and change agents in tackling the tough situations and avoiding the personal attrition of being ground down by resistance and vested interest
  • Managing the people-in-change issues so that crucial perspectives are factored in and avoidable resistance, delay and scepticism are factored out
  • Skilled facilitation of work streams, the steering group and the whole system events to reach speedy consensus on actions, decisions and solutions
  • Excellence in helping you to manage a project environment that delivers the benefits
Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

OPDC worked with the Property Management Division of a UK-based organisation to regenerate the business. We worked with the extended management team to discover and clearly define the future value proposition for the market and the top four Strategic Goals for the next two years. We then facilitated a meeting with a selected group of employees (a ‘diagonal slice') to get their input into strategy formulation. Following this, OPDC worked with the different project groups to support implementation as well as provide 1:1 coaching to change sponsors. This approach meant that the majority of employees were directly involved and supported in the implementation. This in turn meant high levels of enthusiasm and commitment and a successful implementation.

Project two:

A large mental health NHS Trust decided to conduct a root and branch review of its psychological treatment services in order to develop an integrated strategy for their delivery. Using individual and focus group interviews, we helped them assess the current state and then we designed and facilitated the search conference that produced the vision, strategy and plans for the reconfiguration of psychological treatment services.

To discuss how Strategic Planning and Implementation could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Whole Systems Working

Your organisation faces the full brunt of the high-speed, global, networked economy, with all its potential for disruptive change. If you want to be successful, there really are no hiding places. Whether you’re going after those emergent opportunities or anticipating changes to your landscape, you need speedier adaptation. And for the changes that can’t be anticipated, your response must be like lightning or they threaten your survival.

But how can you solve complex problems in such complicated circumstances and with such little time? And once you've solved the problems, how can you implement actions, decisions and solutions fast enough for them to remain relevant in such a turbulent, competitive landscape? 



The management imperative is weaker than ever


In our interconnected and crosscutting world, linear direction and lengthy decision making by managers is impossible. The solution lies in harnessing the whole organisation by designing cutting-edge interventions that draw on the new science of complexity. 
Complex Problem Solving using the Whole System puts the whole (or a substantial microcosm) of your workforce and stakeholders in a same place, same time event in order to:

  • Harness the valuable knowledge, perspective, intelligence and diversity of your workforce and stakeholders to come up with answers that are both excellent and surprising. The solutions that a neural network like this can create are vast
  • Release the energy and goodwill locked in the system through people supporting what they’ve helped create. There is no lengthy line management, but instead massive parallel processing by people who are now ‘thinking global but acting local'
  • Maximise the possibilities for real-time decision-making by bringing stakeholders, including partners, managers, the workforce and staff representatives into one room at the same time (how we make this happen is technical but we're happy to explain it to you)
  • Begin work immediately on the projects, initiatives and work streams in the event itself whilst relationships are warm. We support these projects and work streams until the work is done
We achieve our results by:
  • Careful contracting with the senior sponsor to ensure the Big Question is being posed to the System and that the parameters and constraints within which the System must develop the answer are made clear
  • Excellent event design based on many years’ cumulative experience of design and delivery
  • Design informed by a deep understanding of system dynamics, complex systems and participative whole systems methodologies. The need for speed drives the deployment of these insights
  • Careful assessment of the right intervention for the job, co-developed with your nominated, diverse planning team, so that we begin the event with their informed cross-organisation understanding of the issues
  • To get the job done, we take the emergent, transformational change that bubbles up from these events and integrate them with rigorous project management of the work streams
Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

A global IT outsourcing company wanted to reality-check its strategy for growth with the workforce and with some of its customers and also get their input on how to make the change happen. The large group identified further contributions to strategy and also new work streams, which the group then populated with great enthusiasm. The strategy team evaluated this as a roaring success.

Project two:


The Government asked Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to takeover the commissioning of Prison Health Care, requiring the local PCTs to work with their local prisons to develop the mechanism for doing this. We convened and facilitated a large group drawn from both primary care and the prison (including a group of prison inmates, i.e. the service users) to work out the local response, which was submitted on time to a tight deadline.

To discuss how Whole Systems Working could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Organisational Culture Change

Culture is heavily implicated in organisational success. Organisations that support employee participation in decision making, adaptable work methods, sensible work designs and reasonable and clear goals perform at a significantly higher level than those that don’t.

These correlations are straightforward, but the cultures that provide certain firms with a competitive edge may be hard to emulate. And to make things worse, the classic literature on culture change refers to it as an extremely difficult, long-term process lasting 6-15 years. Such timescales are unrealistic in our rapidly changing business landscapes. 



But here's where it gets interesting: performance results over time are supported by cultures that emphasise anticipating and adapting to environmental change, which is doable within rapid timescales.
As we’ve said before, rapid change and adaptation comes from getting the whole culture in a same place, same time event to provide them with:

  • Some good questions (informed by the organisational diagnosis we'll help you perform)
  • Information, intelligence and data to support and inform their intelligent thinking
  • A well-designed process to enable them to work on the questions and produce coherent plans and actions for changes that have realism factored in, by design
With the right information and a good process, large groups with good ground rules can work out how to adapt. And, because the process selects the ‘right’ people (as well as the diversity of perspectives and intelligences required), they have the seniority to take decisions in real time and prevent the organisation from going off on an unrealistic tangent.

Where’s the risk?

Significant risk comes when the culture that is essential to strategy implementation is incompatible with existing patterns of behaviour. Using the interventions we have outlined above, the organisation will successfully create an adaptive solution that addresses:
  • Whether implementation plans should be changed to fit around the existing culture
  • Whether the culture should be changed
  • Whether the strategy itself should be modified or even substituted for another
What we offer, in a nutshell…

We don't do it TO you, we do it WITH you:
  • We help you select from a number of cultural assessment methods so that you know what culture you've got and the degree of fit it has with your strategy.
  • We will co-design with you a process that helps you rapidly address the cultural issues in a way that is consistent with the organisation.
  • We will support you right through the change, from cultural assessment to facilitating some of the work streams or creating an excellent project and change management environment.
  • We use our experience of working across national and multi-national cultures to help you anticipate and avoid pitfalls.
  • We are skilled in engaging the whole system in defining and implementing a cultural shift, helping you work with resistance.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

An electronics company was concerned that the organisation had slipped into a blame culture. We helped them to carefully define what ‘no blame' looks like (just to caricature the problem, how can you sack someone in a ‘no blame culture' for serious misconduct without blaming them?). Once senior management had accepted the model, it was rolled out across the organisation in a series of large group events, using a process we helped to create, delivered by facilitators we helped train. These events gave the workforce the opportunity to test whether senior managers were serious. They were, and the staff survey regularly tests the issue. There is now a high level of awareness of the need to manage blame across all levels in the company.

Project two:

A leading soft drinks manufacturer recognised that to remain at the competitive edge in their sector they must ensure more employees throughout the organisation were ‘responsive and autonomous decision makers'. OPDC rolled out a Coaching Development Programme, which establish a coaching culture by equipping all people managers with the necessary skills to develop their teams through coaching.

To discuss how Organisational Culture Change could help you, please contact us.

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Change Management

Statistically, if you’re in the middle of a change initiative, there’s an 80% chance that it’s going to stall, is already stalling or has stalled. In implementing complex change, you may find:

  • There is a high level of resistance to doing things differently
  • The momentum of the change has slowed down
  • People impacted by the change do not seem to appreciate the business drivers
  • The change has been diluted or lost direction
  • The uncertainty created by the change is not handled well
  • Managers are not managing the changes as they need to
  • The change initiative is not producing the expected changes in behaviour needed to succeed
The light at the end of the tunnel

High risk is not to be confused with inevitability. Recent advances in the field are providing new methodologies for either rebooting a stalled change or conducting preventative maintenance on a change that is at risk of stalling or failing. Plus, these new approaches accelerate the implementation of change, which is always preferable in our fast-paced world.

The death of resistance with whole systems thinking

Successful change starts with systems thinking, moves to projects and work streams and ends in the thousands of individual actions that make it happen. What matters is that you plan with the whole organisation in mind in a methodical way, ensuring maximum participation by all relevant stakeholders.

You want your people to contribute their smartest ideas and perspectives, so that they embrace the change that allows your organisation to adapt and flourish in a complex environment.

We work with you to ensure they receive the right briefings, knowledge, information and analyses, using the right media. Their informed thinking can then produce the sophisticated actions, decisions and solutions that progress your complex change issues.

This is when the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

A new beginning

Change is good. We work with you to dramatically reduce the cycle time for getting the work done and we’ll help you implement successfully, supporting you over tricky hurdles. We enable accelerated, transformational change, whether it’s a greenfield change project or a stalled change in need of a reboot.

Two brief examples of our work in action

Project one:

Following a major restructuring, a global telecoms organisation invited OPDC to support the subsequent change initiative in one of their divisions. This resulted in us working alongside a transition team to plan the necessary structural changes, formulate a communication plan, facilitate process improvement workshops between the different functions to encourage ‘process thinking' and facilitate large group whole systems events to ‘nail strategy and action plans' to get to the new vision.

Project two:

We worked with a charity to design and implement a performance management system that would encourage managers to:
  • Manage poor performance
  • Set clear objectives
  • Coach their people
  • Reward people for the behaviours the organisation needed to grow to ensure a customer-focused culture
With the input of a great number of people in the organisation, we designed the behavioural competencies, all documentation and the process, ensuring participation and buy-in from the start. As a result, the rollout and implementation proved painless.

To discuss how Change Management could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Post-Merger and Acquisition Integration

So you've spotted the opportunity, done your Due Diligence and you’re either already, or you are about to become, financially and legally joined at the hip…


M&As hold great promise for increasing shareholder value, productivity and growth. However, statistically over 70%  of all M&As fail to realise the promised benefits. There are at least three reasons for this:

  • Failure to carry out a rigorous Due Diligence, leading to the discovery of financial and organizational holes when it’s too late
  • Lack of clarity on Post Merger Vision and Strategy, resulting in post D-Day chaos, melt-down and painfully slow integration
  • Lack of Poster-Merger Integration, resulting in a merged workforce that’s become wrapped up in the turmoil and debris of post-merger emotional fall-out and is therefore not working as a new team in the new reality
Considering the enormous mountain of work you have to get through in order to clinch the deal in the first place, how can you then avoid the common pitfalls and create a successful post-merger integration?

The best solution lies in prevention

Timely and structured preparation and planning is integral to successful post-merger integration and something OPDC can make an expert contribute to. If it’s too late for that, then the sooner you can address the post-merger troubles, the better. And we can help you with that, too.

Due Diligence

If you’re thinking of commissioning OPDC  to help with your Due Diligence, stop right there. Instead, find yourself a good firm of accountants to pour over the numbers, margins, outstanding debts, current contracts, pipeline and assets, a good firm of lawyers and a talented HR professional

Post-Merger Vision and Strategy

We've written about strategy elsewhere on this website, so let's get into the people integration stuff…

Post-Merger and Acquisition Integration

The Due Diligence we have in mind for this piece  arises from your HR Due Diligence; the assessment of organisational culture differences, workforce capability, management potential and a raft of other ‘people data'. Using this data we can offer you integration that is successful and fast.

What we offer

We help management teams pull together a 100-day post-merger integration plan, which will give direction and achieve speedy integration. The methodology we use makes integration everybody's business. The OPDC Whole Systems approach to integration will relieve pressure on the few while:
  • Increasing employee participation and ownership
  • Enhancing employee understanding of the changes afoot
  • Producing high levels of energy right through the organisation
  • Accelerating the integration process
  • Have a look at our explanation of Whole Systems Working if you’d like to know more!
It’s what we’re good at…

Through facilitated large group and small group meetings, building new teams, developing change managers, accelerated change tools and frameworks and our ability to navigate people through conflict and differences towards consensus and agreement, we support organisations in getting the workforce integrated speedily and effectively.

Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

A well-known building firm decided to grow the business through acquisition. After identifying the right target, the senior management team invited OPDC to help them finalise the business plan to be presented to the Board, as well as plan for the post-merger integration of the business processes, structures, assets and people. The plan was finalised and owned by the extended management team with frequent communication and participation opportunities for the whole workforce, leading to high levels of activity and buy-in.

Project two:

ZenithOptimedia


We couldn't improve on the customer's voice, so here it is from the horse’s mouth:

"Zenith and Optimedia were both leading media services companies working with a number of blue-chip advertisers. Due to the consolidation that is happening in our sector, and in order to provide stronger, more focused resources and solutions, we developed a strategy to bring the two companies together to form a new organisation. Having announced this merger, we decided to bring together our leading CEOs in order to discuss issues relating to positioning and integration. We went through a lengthy search process before we appointed OPDC to work with us. It was our view that they had the best relevant experience to help us tackle the issues of integration that we were facing. We worked closely with OPDC  during the preparation of our seminar and they conducted a number of questionnaires and telephone interviews, as well as face-to-face appointments, in order to better understand the specific integration and merger issues. There was obviously some trepidation on our part about how the meeting would evolve. OPDC, however, played an extremely important role in leading a number of the discussions, building a consensual view of the key difficulties and then led individual breakout groups as to how we should position ourselves. Since this meeting, we have made great strides. ZenithOptimedia has become a new force in the media world and is newly positioned as the ROI agency. In support of this, we have an approach, process and tools, which allow us to deliver an improved, competitive advantage based on our Return On Investment philosophy. I was delighted with the contribution that OPDC made and would certainly wish to use them for future events, or indeed recommend them to other companies facing similar complex issues (to our competitors, however, I would say that OPDC are completely useless and a waste of money!)."

Steve King, CEO Global, ZenithOptimedia

To discuss how Post-Merger and Acquisition Integration could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Business-led Project and Programme Management

On any given day, ambitious organisations are busy fielding a whole range of projects. But the complex, shifting sea of variables inherent in modern day organisations has the potential to disrupt even the most well conceived plan:

  • Customers refine or redefine their requirements, creating mission creep.
  • Yesterday's strategic project may be today's dead duck; a dynamic, competitive landscape and other aspects of the environment need a flexible, adaptive response.
  • Emergent change creates an imperative for new projects.
  • The political dimension prevalent in all organisations informs shifting and competing priorities.
  • Your best people are not usually found sitting on the bench when you need them, so their input is hard won.
Without an integrated, coherent, excellently managed project environment, you can look forward to projects that are delayed, failed or stalling, due to:
  • Poor change management leading to insufficient buy-in from key stakeholders
  • Lack of prioritisation, resulting in more projects being created than there are resources to service them, consequently slowing down or killing other important projects
  • Changes to the organisation and work practices necessary to embed the project deliverables and benefits not being managed in an integrated manner, leading to waste, duplication and conflict
  • Major projects that are hurtling towards one another because the control room doesn't know they’re sharing the same track
How we help

Through our business-led, project management process, we’ll work in partnership with you to implement the process in your organisation.
  • Sweep up the messy, component parts of projects and programmes into a joined-up methodology, improving the efficient delivery of projects across the organisation.
  • Integrate the project, the processes, the systems, the work practices and the organisational changes in a methodical and intelligent manner that revs up the people involved.
  • Provide early and high visibility of issues and risks, reducing hidden, expensive surprises.
  • Streamline the task of establishing and launching project teams that can get the job done with reduced cycle time.
  • Manage out the issues that cause strategic projects to fail.
  • Address not just the technical structures, but also the people-in-change issues that create not only resistance but impoverish the project through non-engagement and delay.
  • Equip programme managers and project leaders with the skills and group processes needed for conflict resolution and rapid implementation of actions, decisions and solutions.
  • Support you with hands-on facilitation of all aspects of your project environment, including large group whole systems events, interface meetings for two or more teams, or facilitation of discrete teams.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

We worked in partnership with the Housing Service of a Greater London Council to establish a ‘Best Practice' programme and project management process in order to achieve consistently high standards and Key Performance Indicators. With the new processes in place, the Council is in a much better place with more clarity on Roles and Responsibilities, a ‘Fit for Purpose' process and skilled-up project managers who are masters at facilitating others to get things done. The Council feels this has ‘constituted a culture change and a much improved customer-orientated service'.

Project two:

We worked with one of the UK 's largest online Entertainment and Leisure Services to undertake a review of their project management processes. This involved:
  • Establishing a new project management process
  • Identifying and developing communication structures and methods to support projects
  • Introducing and establishing a range of project management tools
  • Identifying and establishing project roles
  • Creating core competencies for project managers
The new ‘Fit for Purpose' process is working effectively. The organisation has implemented a single approach for all projects with established benchmarks and standards.

To discuss how Business-Led Project and Programme Management could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Team Development and Group Facilitation

Someone once calculated that when two people communicate, they exchange 5-10 thousand bits of information per second. So, you can imagine the ‘bits’ hurtling around when you put a whole team in a room. Luckily, these ‘bits’ can show as three patterns, which can benefit from team development and facilitation: 



Pattern 1


The team are a new team who need to be up on their feet immediately so that they can take off before they get eaten (c'mon, it’s better than 'hit the ground running'). 



Pattern 2


The team is happy and relates well; the members are functioning and productive. Their focus is on The Goal and they are looking for external, dispassionate process expertise to enable them to find the fastest, most efficient way of achieving their intended outcomes. 



Pattern 3


The team are dysfunctional, troubled or traumatised and spend precious organisational time spinning their wheels on conflict, absenteeism, correcting poor quality work or failing to get much done at all. 



What we can provide for new teams:

  • We help kick-start and fast-track project and other teams so that they migrate as quickly as possible from talking about the work to doing the work and getting business results.
  • Evidence shows that innovative teams have clear objectives. We co-design with the team a well-structured, efficient process that helps the team rapidly develop its Team Charter: Mission, Values, Vision, Strategy, Measures and Processes.
  • Where you have a number of teams, we can bring the team leaders into action learning sets in order to develop their contribution to the business.
What we can provide for intact teams:
  • We can work with teams who are further on than newly commissioned teams to expedite their journey to high performance.
  • Following Tuckman, if your team is forming, we move it along, if it is storming, we pilot it through the storm, if norming, we sharpen the approach and if performing we help it plan for high performance.
  • If the team has a discrete issue to consider, we will provide you with an expert facilitator who will co-design your team retreat with you and your team and then facilitate the retreat to achieve its intended outcomes.
  • We can fast track your Project Teams from development of their Terms of Reference to evaluation and wind-down.
What we can provide for dysfunctional and troubled teams:
  • We can handle and resolve difference. OPDC majors on its conflict resolution, negotiation and psychological skills, enabling us to handle the entire continuum from mild disagreement to more significant conflicts threatening litigation, dismissal and resignation. We work hard and ensure no one gets hurt, no one is humiliated and that the outcome is win-win.
  • Some teams don't want a post-mortem, they’re just desperate to move on and constructively create their future. Other teams cannot move on unless their emotional baggage is fully expressed.
  • For those teams who first need to deal with unfinished business, we help them navigate this road safely, using the formal discipline of dialogue.
  • Where a team has been traumatised by some event or catastrophe, we help them with sense making, facilitated with a light touch. We provide ongoing support and coaching for the manager as the changes and new agreements are embedded.
  • We encourage paced reviews that motivate the team because they want to report success and show they honoured their agreements.
To put it simply

Whatever the situation, our expert facilitators get the team to consensus on actions decisions and solutions, fast.

Three examples of our work in action

Project one:

A major global manufacturer faced a serious conflict between three senior managers in its management team. There was talk of litigation, dismissal and resignation. We interviewed all members of the management team individually and then met with the three protagonists at a neutral venue. Following a highly structured process, we kept the meeting safe whilst the managers faced up to their differences and negotiated tough agreements on how they would conduct their business in future. On follow-up, we learnt that so successful was this piece of work that the managers were not only doing business with each other happily, but were also beginning to socialise outside of work.

Project two:

A large utility company called us in following a fatality. We worked with the members of the team individually, before bringing them together for sense making, grieving and enabling them to work with their teams on preventive measures

Project three:

An NHS Trust Board (executive and non-executive directors) wanted to work on a large number of issues but was under severe time pressure. We planned the event meticulously for the retreat. On the day, we equipped each member of the Board with a networked laptop running decision support software). A large number of important agenda items were quickly dispatched using this accelerated process.

To learn more about how Team Development and Group Facilitation could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Managing dispersed & diverse environments

They say if you sit more than 30 feet from a colleague, you're likely to ring them or send an email rather than approach their desk.

Working in a dispersed environment, is now commonplace.You work with people on different shifts, possibly in partner, customer or supplier organisations, and with people of very different cultures. Maybe you work with people across continents or in different time zones.

It’s clear your opportunities for face-to-face contact are limited, and so effective working requires considerable planning and effort. Add the fact that it’s likely the people you work with don't share all of your cultural values, and the challenges can be substantial.

Let’s rehearse a few of the problems:

  • Out of sight, out of mind. The currency of the promise to a colleague is weakened by distance: how easily we are seduced by the person who can influence us with warmth expressed face-to-face, whilst a distant colleague wonders what happened to the promise that hasn't been kept. The result: project deadlines slip, people fume in cyber-silence and relationships and trust deteriorate (and they can be hard to rebuild).
  • In this extended space, there’s no water cooler moment where you can button hole someone over something you need to discuss. These same-time, same-place incidental encounters, which help to reinforce webs of trusting relationships and shorten decision cycle times, aren't available. Without efforts to build trust and keep the drumbeat going, this low visibility environment becomes a recipe for assuming the worst: are they working against me (and are they working at all)?
  • We mistakenly assume that others share the same worldview, and we don't understand it when they don't. We may be quick to reject people who don't follow the same cultural dance moves as ourselves, leading to misunderstanding, conflict, rivalry and delay.
Whether you need to reach across the room or across a continent, we can help you design the processes.
  • We tailor the approach. We won't sell you some dismal standard package but help you to learn in your own environment and context in order to create the knowledge, skills and processes that are suited to it.
  • There’s good evidence that innovative teams have clear objectives. We therefore set great store by the Team Charter, i.e. Mission, Vision, Strategy, Processes and Measurement. In a dispersed environment, the Team Charter creates the drumbeat that connects the team members to each other and enables the team leader to manage people by the required organisational ends, not micro-manage them by the means. Using excellent facilitation, we help the team get the Charter done so they can move on to what they are there for.
  • As an OD organisation, we've worked in a dispersed context for nearly 20 years. We understand the communication technologies and how to make best use of video, teleconferencing and email.
  • We equip the teams with the processes needed to reach rapid consensus on actions, decisions and solutions. We equip the team leaders to be process facilitators, skillful in the art of helping people navigate the processes that lead to agreed objectives in a way that encourages the participation of all. We use an efficient coaching system to help them achieve competence in designing and running meetings, both online and face-to-face.
  • Dispersed teams face two cultural challenges. The first is recognising that there are important cultural differences in worldview, even amongst fellow nationals. Even then, understanding culture is not enough. What do you do about it when it surfaces? If we do it my way, I win and you lose. If I try to mimic your culture, it lacks authenticity. We’ll help your organisation reconcile cultural differences and build win-win relationships.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one

An IT software design organisation had restructured into a global framework, which meant that groups of people who – together – were tasked with achieving a set of objectives, were now based in different continents and in differing time zones. This necessitated most of the communication to take place by audio teleconference and it soon became apparent that the cultural differences and a lack of agreed structure severely impeded successful team working. OPDC facilitated a number of multi-cultural dispersed teams to overcome these differences and commit to a Team Charter, which led to highly effective and enjoyable meetings with high levels of equal participation.

Project two


Following an acquisition, a telecoms organisation asked for help integrating the different functions and teams. OPDC offered a ‘Menu Approach' of Facilitated Team Events, offering a variety of agenda items aimed at enhancing newly merged, virtual teams. Many issues were cleared up, leaving all team members to get on with their work with a clear focus, reenergised and uncluttered.

To discuss how Managing Multi-Cultural, Dispersed and Diverse Environments could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Executive Coaching

There’s no doubt that coaching hones and develops top class performers. Just look at the world’s greatest athletes – whilst maximum performance requires ability, coaching takes that ability to the next level. We have a deep knowledge of coaching and have made original contributions to the field.

Situations in which you might benefit from coaching include:

  • A feeling of burden that comes from spending a lot of time on the frontline, whether it manifests itself as a lack of freshness, or more seriously as shut-down or burnout.
  • You're currently a powerful advocate for a big change, which threatens vested interests or just the status quo, and everyone’s giving you a kicking. What if their attack contains a grain of truth? Some of your behaviours may be 'unaware' and if they were revealed and addressed in a coaching relationship, it could make life easier for everyone.
  • There are no problems as such, but an issue you want to work on; you know you’re at your best when you award yourself structured reflection and thinking time with an outsider who can be a good foil.
  • Perhaps you work in a hostile or highly politicised environment and your ideas had better be fully baked before they’re given to your diners; the various angles, traps and pitfalls carefully thought through.
  • Maybe you’re having a private crisis you’d like to talk through in safety (these normal events can come to pass, but they can be tricky to handle from within your organisation – allies are one thing, true confidants another).
Situations in which your own people might benefit from coaching include:
  • A recently appointed direct report who has ability but needs some fast track coaching to get up to speed.
  • Someone you don't want to lose who is struggling with big change.
  • You have a direct report who has been the subject of a harassment complaint, accepts they went too far and needs space and time to reflect on their management style.
What we can do, whether the issues are intellectual, interpersonal or personal
  • Our coaches have the necessary gravitas to work with senior people, balancing high support with high challenge (and the sensitivity to work with senior people who have been through a tough time).
  • We bring the models and frameworks that help you work on strategic issues.
  • We can coach you in developing a skillful approach to tricky interpersonal work situations.
  • We can help you debrief stressful or even distressing issues, leaving you feeling clear-headed and functioning at full capacity again.
  • We help you think systemically, expanding your understanding of issues until you have a sufficiently rich view of the context to act.
To conclude…

Our consultants have installed whole organisation coaching systems, trained coaches, trained trainers and provided help with policy development, audio-visual materials, even standards, audit and evaluation of coaching. We live the model ourselves, using coaching to reflect on our own issues.

OPDC is a member of the European Coaching Institute and all OPDC coaches abide by the European Coaching Institute's Standards and Ethics.

Two examples of our work in action

Project one

A global software solutions company uses OPDC Coaches to support their managers who are promoted into new roles with significantly increased levels of responsibility. A clear coaching agreement is drawn up at the start and coaching support is generally offered over a period of six months, on a monthly basis. The organisation's HR Director feels that, “This way, our managers are set up for success”.

Project two

OPDC Coaches have worked with many executives in a wide range of organisations and in all sectors over the past 20 years. The focus of the coaching agreement is different for each relationship, from working on ‘life-work balance' issues to ‘cracking tricky business problems'. Our coaching contracts range from an agreement with an individual manager to contracts with a whole management population in an organisation.

To discuss how Executive Coaching could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Mindfulness

 
Only a few years ago the term was used exclusively to describe Buddhist meditative traditions. Now the corporate leadership world is taking a closer look. Recently neuroscience studies from Harvard University have shown that mindfulness training significantly increases brain grey matter concentrations in areas associated with Attention Control, Emotional Regulation and Self Awareness. Further evidence links mindfulness training to increased pre-frontal cortex activity, which is related to happiness and well-being. It has gained worldwide application as a distinctive method to handle emotions.

Currently, in the medical world, mindfulness programmes are used to help with physical problems such as stress, anxiety, hypertension, depression, heart disease and chronic pain. There are further connections, however, to how being mindful in our approach can help us to become more effective business leaders.

People who have trained in mindfulness have been shown to make more rational decisions. During times requiring pressurised decision-making, meditators activate a different network of brain areas compared with non-meditators and that enables them to uncouple negative emotional reactions from their behaviour.

Meditation has also been found to be a highly effective means of training managers in corporate social responsibility. The training significantly raises managers’ levels of care and concern.

Mindfulness programmes have also been shown to raise one’s level of emotional intelligence and improve relationships. Those completing a course of mindfulness  show significant improvements with respect to emotional intelligence, perceived stress and mental health compared to others.

Whether you’re looking to develop yourself, or your company, OPDC provides a tailored programme to help unlock your potential leading to improved performance, growth and, ultimately, success.

What to do next...

All our programmes can be customised to fit your particular professional and personal objectives. For more information please contact us.

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Coaching

Nowadays, what organisations need are doers who can think and thinkers who can do. This is because organisations have de-layered, resulting in fewer, busier managers with a larger span of control managing employees who must be able to think for themselves. So no handholding there then. In order to keep the organisation running smoothly, we all need to be multi-skilled at multi-tasking, which is easier said than done.

Let’s break it down

A business is essentially a group of people who, through cumulative, small effects create a large effect: the successful enterprise. If managers, team leaders and team members are given structured opportunities in coaching sessions to think through their business issues, they are much more likely to do more focused, productive and intelligent work, which means better cumulative effects and better business results.

In creating those structured coaching opportunities, organisations must respond to two challenges:

  • The coaching system must be focused on getting fast business results, otherwise it won't be credible with the people whose dominant style is task-centred or cost conscious.
  • Even if it is a credible system, it operates in a pressured environment whereby best-practice business systems (e.g. your induction procedures, coaching, strategic reviews or regular individual performance reviews) are all too easily sidelined by more urgent operational pressures. Thus, it requires intelligent planning and implementation.
We help organisations design, implement and evaluate sustainable systems of coaching that sharpen up those cumulative effects for improved business results, fast.

We can:
  • Develop your coaches in methods that focus them and the coachee on direct business improvements to customer metrics such as cost, quality, service and cycle time.
  • Help the coach to develop systems thinking for a complex, crosscutting, cross-functional world, so your people can appreciate the knock-on effect of their thoughts and actions on their colleagues, customers and suppliers.
  • Help your managers and team leaders establish sustainable coaching systems that don't just rely on line managers for the provision of coaching (not good if your direct reports are numbered in the 50s or hundreds).
  • Provide you with facilitated large group events in order to speed up the change management process as the organisation tackles the sustainability issues, especially in demand-led environments where coaching can be all too easily cancelled.
  • Support your coaches by shadowing them in their first three coaching sessions. After this, they’re much more likely to persevere and then the skills become wired in.
  • Train a cadre of your own trainers so that they become the in-house thought leaders and content experts for the programme.
  • Devise apprenticeship models that exponentially accelerate the dissemination of the skills. This augments the training courses provided by your own trainers, who could otherwise be overwhelmed by significant numbers of coaches to train in a short time.
  • Help you devise ways of auditing the observance of good coaching practice to agreed (i.e. locally owned) standards.
  • Act as project facilitators for your project team as they implement the coaching system.
  • Develop the audit and evaluation programmes that help you demonstrate the effectiveness of the programme and its ROI.
  • With our strong psychological background, we understand appreciative approaches that build energy, motivation and self-esteem without shirking the performance requirement or being sentimental about it.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one

We worked with a large multi-national across its European operations to design, build, implement and evaluate a coaching system for managers. Our Consultants provided coaching to the coaches as they worked with their direct reports, thus supporting this initiative in the field, which enabled it to ‘take' in the organisation. The subsequent evaluation suggested a percentage return on investment in the several hundreds.

Project two

We worked with a large NHS organisation in Scotland to design a coaching system that supports clinicians in their clinical work. We have facilitated policy development, trained their trainers and addressed the change management issues around sustainability, using whole systems approaches. We have advised on a number of evaluation issues and methods, which are currently being undertaken.

To discuss how Coaching could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Facilitation

Team leaders and managers succeed or fail on the basis of their ability to orchestrate the collective efforts of the diverse people they manage.

If you can reconcile the teeming multiplicity of ideas, opinions, knowledge, skills, perspectives and intelligences in your team and organisation, brilliant business solutions are there for the taking. 



But we live in disruptive, fast-moving times full of discontinuous change, so to adapt, the cycle time for reconciling all this difference must be short. However, without the crucial facilitations skills for reaching consensus and without smart ways of analysing and addressing the challenges you face, your solutions either become irrelevant because they took so long to reach, or worse – they’re never found, with subsequent reputational damage to teams, managers and organisations. 



We must find rapid approaches to reaching consensus that enable people to bring real attack to implementation. We have thought long and hard about how to help organisations cost effectively acquire depth and breadth in facilitation excellence. Here are our solutions packages…

The Facilitation Starter Pack 


Your facilitators will develop the design skills to create efficient, highly productive meetings of 2-25 people that result in timely actions, decisions and solutions. They will develop their facilitation skills in specialist areas such as:

  • Process improvement and redesign in order to secure improvements in cost, quality, service and cycle time.
  • Conflict resolution for conflicted teams and also for colleagues who are in a morale draining 1:1 dispute with each other.
  • Formal problem analysis and problem solving (and we've got another interesting take on these ideas for super-facilitators).
  • Fast track team building and developing team measurement systems.
  • Using coaching and critical incident analysis, we coach them in handling tricky team dynamics.
Advanced Facilitation for Super-Facilitators

This is for those who have acquired the facilitation fundamentals. A deep knowledge of system dynamics and the new science of complexity provide the theoretical base for enabling your super-facilitators to work with the whole of your system or with powerful microcosms representing it.

Implementation and Sustainability


If we sell you something that isn't sustainable we enter into a form of deception. Thus, we’re committed to ensuring the good practice we teach you ‘sticks’ and ‘takes' in the organisation.

An example of our work in action

An electronics company asked us to provide development for a group of facilitators who would become involved in project reviews, implementing lean manufacturing and other process improvement efforts. This group developed  a Facilitation Starter Pack and have reported great success, particularly in rolling out a company-wide no blame culture. We are just beginning the move to advanced approaches.

To discuss how Facilitation could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Internal Consultancy

HR Professionals: from organisational servant to strategic partner 



With the maturing of the HR outsourcing market, it’s now entirely feasible to outsource basic HR processes. So, the transactional, administrative core of the HR function in organisations is eroding and competent HR professionals are looking to become internal consultants to the business heads.

But the business heads face a number of pressing business imperatives, all of which have consequences for the skill sets of internal consultants:

  • In a world of perpetual change and transformation, they must create and sustain an organisation fit for change.
  • Globalisation means that diversity, complexity and ambiguity must be embraced and skillfully addressed.
  • Where growth is to come through merger and acquisition, post-merger integration of culture and processes is key.
  • In a competitive, knowledge-economy job market they must attract, retain and develop talented employees.
The survival of the fittest…

We can help you develop the OD internal consulting skills that enable you to:
  • Practice as an expert change agent, leading the way on planning and implementing change, using accelerated change technologies.
  • Help your diverse organisation become a complex adaptive system (and not merely complex).
  • Find best practice ways forward for building the organisation's architecture and culture.
  • Become an expert in process improvement (both HR processes and the wider business processes).
  • Work with line managers in getting the employee engagement so essential to high productivity.
What’s the process?

  • Getting the ‘entry and contracting' right is important for any consultant; for internal consultants working in politicised environments, it's even more so. We’ll help you hit the nail on the head.
  • We provide you with a range of diagnostic approaches to develop your ability to think systemically as you are working with your client. Then they, too, can think systemically and contribute to the design of the intervention, because they own the results of the diagnosis.
  • As well as developing your ability to design interventions, we teach you the deep knowledge of processes and methodologies required to respond in the moment, enhancing your credibility with your client.
  • We provide you with frameworks, structures and processes that build formative evaluation into your work from day one and a summative evaluation at the end.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one

We ran a programme for the corporate HR team in a retail organisation of 35,000 employees to develop them as OD consultants with a specific focus on culture change. We ran workshops on Facilitation to Effect Change, Consultancy Skills and Coaching and provided 1:1 coaching support over a period of five months. The team now feel much better equipped to be strategic business partners to their respective business heads and feel they provide a more value-add service.

Project two

OPDC ran a programme for a leading bank to develop core consultancy skills in their central HR function. Flexible modules over a nine-month period offered development in:
  • Coaching
  • Consultancy
  • Balanced scorecard
  • Relationship management
  • Managing change
Following this intensive training and development programme, participants felt more confident and skilled to step into the consultancy role to support their business heads.

To discuss how Internal Consultancy could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Strategic Account Management

By definition, ineffective Account Management Strategies fail to achieve sales, waste resources and carry significant opportunity costs: just a bunch of adults frittering away an expensive afternoon or worse, many afternoons.

But there is actually good evidence that structured approaches to Strategic Account Management yield productive long-term relationships and future business. More importantly, these approaches are teachable, and if carefully applied, they will increase your sales.

We can help you implement a system of account management that improves business results and is sustainable. These approaches enable your senior sales and marketing people to work together in agreeing on direction and the detailed actions in support of the direction. 


What we offer


Account management is another organisational system that’s important, but hardly ever urgent. We’ll help you build a sustainable infrastructure that secures a system so effective that it becomes resilient against attempts to sideline it when the heat is on. We will help you:

  • Implement an evidence-based economical approach to account strategy that means effort is expended on effective techniques.
  • Develop a set of systematic approaches so that you and your team work from common assumptions in strategic account planning. So, rather than bickering over definitions, frameworks and procedures they will be busy progressing the account management itself.
  • Learn and implement techniques for effectively getting onto the customer's wavelength.
  • Work to dedicated account management meetings processes that quickly identify the right actions, decisions and solutions.
  • Build a disciplined coaching system for account managers that supports their efforts to sit down, research and properly plan their account management strategies before going face-to-face with the client.
  • Create a set of account management standards and the audit procedures that tell if you are meeting your standards.
  • Once the system is bedded in, we’ll help you create an ‘apprenticeship' model so that you can quickly bring new hires up-to-speed with your account management system, without needing to send them on a training course.
  • Create the pro-formas and procedures for the entire strategic account management process; we will give you the basic templates provided in soft copy, royalty free.
  • Address the crucial implementation issues with the sales function and the senior executives who support the sales effort.
  • Work on issues of implementation, critical mass and sustainability so that your investment isn't wasted.
  • Develop your skills in responding to challenging sales conversations on the fly. For more on this, see our item 'Selling Business Solutions'.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one

At a leading software organisation, we worked with teams in Switzerland, France, Germany, Holland and the UK to develop their account plans and account management. The teams consisted not only of those directly involved in sales, but also a wider group of those involved in servicing the account. This enabled a free flow of information, more rigor in challenging the competitiveness of plans and left all those involved in the account clear on their part in achieving the goals.

Project two

At an international IT solutions company, we extended the Account Management process to include senior delivery managers. These delivery managers had established long-term ‘trusted advisor’ relationships with their customers and could contribute wider intelligence about opportunities. Through the process, they gained a greater strategic understanding of their customers' businesses to lever further sales opportunities.

To discuss how Strategic Account Management could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Influencing, Negotiating & Partnership

Whether they're romantic, platonic or professional, relationships are complicated. Even those that are positive can eventually breakdown. That’s because when humans get involved, they bring an array of emotions, opinions and agendas, which don’t always play well together.

Woody Allen once described love as a virus with early symptoms of intense attraction and boundless goodwill towards the other. But in its chronic stage, the symptoms morph into irritation and an uncanny ability to row about everything…

In short, what was once a valuable relationship diminishes into something destructive.

Applying this to professional partnerships, the challenge is to build a solid foundation of goodwill from the start and then maintain it. With this robust and positive core – fuelled by mutual respect and understanding – any problems that arise can be dealt with diplomatically and effectively before they become detrimental.

The partnership dance…

Try to tango without learning the moves and you’ll step on your partner’s toes. Try to do business without building a good rapport, and you’ll do the same.

With a sea of different personalities and objectives to consider, you have to learn the partnership dance in order to win contracts and deliver on them. This ability to ‘dance’ painlessly through productive partnerships will propel your business forward positively and sustainably.

The death of competition…

The same goes for our competitors. Rather than butt heads, we need to cooperate and accommodate in order to create opportunities rather than conflicts. Thus, a new breed of partnering relationships for growth with our competitors is created: co-opetition.

We can help you turn competition into co-operation so that clashes of interests are converted into a mutually beneficial partnership. It’s all about shelving the ‘dog-eat-dog’ mentality and diplomatically managing the intricacies of our relationships, the negotiation process and ourselves.

It’s a fine balance, but successfully done it leaves the partnership, the businesses and the people intact and productive. Badly done, it feeds the lawyers.

We’ll help  you to learn the techniques…

With our help, you will learn how to build high-trust relationships that will endure the test of time:

  • Build rapport appropriately and quickly
  • Adopt a true win-win mindset to build productive, long-term relationships
  • Understand your needs (we’ll give you frameworks to help you achieve them!)
  • Remain in control of proceedings by managing your emotions as well as those of others
On a more sophisticated level, we can support you in establishing partnerships, negotiating SLAs, developing a virtual organisation or team and with working out Team Charters and Blueprints.

You will become skillful at:

  • Establishing partnerships
  • Building sustainable relationships
  • Negotiating agreements
  • Looking for synergies
  • Optimising opportunities
Two examples of our work in action

Project one

A large facilities management organisation won a very large contract, which they were obliged to deliver in consortium that included their archrival. OPDC helped the two management teams come together to set up a new, joint management team for the new, virtual organisation. Together we launched the new organisation, agreed on Roles and Responsibilities, worked out the Service Level Agreements and in turn worked our way around various relationship dynamics.

Project two

A well-known IT company decided to change their strategic focus from ‘product selling' to ‘solution selling'. The sales force had to evolve to be able to work alongside customers over time, getting to know their needs so that they can offer the right solution. It required partnership skills and frameworks, which the sales force acquired during an OPDC Development Programme.

To discuss how Influencing, Negotiating and Partnership could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Selling Business Solutions

Luckily for the successful organisation, we now know what tactics and behaviours increase the chances of closing a high value sale, and what behaviours diminish them.
But there are certain questions that need to be raised…

Can others learn to use these behaviours correctly?

The answer is: yes they can – most of us already have them in our repertoire. The real challenge is to turn turgid science into compelling reasons why these behaviours are desirable, and then help people use them fluently in the emerging, complex sales conversation.

Do they improve sales outcomes?

Again, research shows that yes, they do improve sales outcomes, providing the systems are in place to ensure they are used, which leads us to the third question…

Is it possible to mainstream these behaviours until they are embedded in the culture?

Well, that depends. If you simply throw training at people and then hope it somehow embeds itself, almost certainly not. For many, the behaviours involve unlearning old habits and for some they can even be counterintuitive. If people are not supported in using these behaviours the day after a training programme ends, their chances of ever using them are slim indeed.

What we offer

This programme is carefully tailored to ensure best fit with your organisation:

  • The programme demonstrates how to research and plan the sales call in order to shorten sales cycle time and improve sales success by a substantial margin.
  • We use real and current situations so that your people are rehearsing scenarios that are relevant to them in order to bring the techniques alive; best practice meets their real life issues.
  • Whilst skills rehearsal is important, we don't just drill people on some sales parade ground, we share the rationale so that it makes sense.
  • One of the attractive outcomes (other than increased sales success) is that because the model is ethical it builds high trust relationships, enabling the business solution seller to become the client's trusted advisor.
Sustainability is key

Because these evidence-based behaviours require a degree of unlearning, we place as much emphasis on consolidation, integration and embedding after the programme as we do on the programme itself. Like our Strategic Account Management Programme, we will help you:
  • Build a disciplined coaching system for business solutions sellers that supports their efforts to sit down, research and properly plan their sales strategies before going face-to-face with the client.
  • Create a set of standards and the audit procedures that tell you if you are meeting your standards.
  • Create an ‘apprenticeship' model so that you can quickly bring new hires up-to-speed with your account management system, without needing to send them on a training course.
  • Create the pro-formas and procedures for the entire business solutions sales process; we will give you the basic templates provided in soft copy, royalty free.
  • Address the crucial implementation issues with the sales function and the senior executives who support the sales effort.
  • This programme can be integrated with our programme on Strategic Account Management.
An example of our work in action

One of our clients has a strong reputation for providing excellent IT solutions to complex problems. Some years ago, they realised they’d have to take the strategic decision to move towards providing wider business solutions, selling not just to IT directors, but also to the board. As part of this, we helped them identify and develop the new competences involved and worked with their sales teams to develop these. Initially, we enabled their sales consultants to generate a strategic plan for their major accounts and then enabled them to apply existing and new skills to execute those plans in order to achieve high deal value, growing mutually profitable trusted advisor relationships with their clients.

To discuss how Selling Business Solutions could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Transformational Leadership

In the de-layered, flattened organisational structures that are now commonplace, the bandwidth to micro-manage at any level is nonexistent. But if the opportunity to micro-manage is lost and face-to-face contact rare, how can we leave lasting motivational effects of loyalty, trust, admiration and respect that inspire people to serve and achieve more than they were considered capable of?

Transformational Leadership provides the answer to those leading their teams, departments and organisations through change.

What is Transformational Leadership?

  • A specific set of behaviours and techniques proven to engage team energy and commitment beyond the standard expectations of the money-for-work contract.
  • A practical leadership style that can be learnt.
  • It’s been heavily researched and shown to be associated with enhanced organisational performance and is particularly relevant to leadership in the ambiguous, complex environment of rapid change.
Our programmes combine group sessions and individual coaching to help leaders develop their personal Transformational Leadership style, in action. It’s not a ‘one size fits all' proposition. Our aim is to provide the learning opportunities, frameworks and techniques that will enable each leader to find their own answer to the key elements of Transformational Leadership:
  • Vision: the communication of important purposes in simple ways to enable people to make sense of the situation and help them answer the question, ‘why should I?'
  • Relationship building: coaching and advising individuals, recognising the emotional issues, building trust
  • Intellectual challenge: mobilising the team's collective intelligence to solve the problem for themselves and to support a change they’ve helped create themselves
  • Inspirational motivation: establishing high expectations and generating self-esteem, confidence and commitment in others to meet those expectations
Why choose us?

OPDC  delivers  tailored transformational leadership programmes:
  • We’ve thought deeply about organisational life and hold coherent views on it.
  • We are intensely values driven: our organisation has flourished because of this and not despite it.
  • We bring an evidence base to our programmes and enjoy receiving those tough, searching questions from teams of bright managers.
  • Materials that support the programme are top flight and you will be pleased to know that there is a close match between the materials and the structured learning activities.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one

OPDC worked with a managing director of an IT solutions company to develop him as a stronger and more effective leader. Initially, this was achieved with 1:1 executive coaching sessions, which offered both theoretical input as well as personal and professional development over time, including live coaching, in vivo, in the work setting.

Project two

We designed a strategic leadership development programme for a group of senior managers, all of whom were heading up functions and divisions in an international bank. The development programme spanned seven months and consisted of three skills development workshops, real workplace-based practice and feedback opportunities in between the workshops. The combination of theoretical input classroom skills practice and high quality feedback, plus workplace-based support by the HR department proved extremely successful.

To discuss how Transformational Leadership could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Balanced Scorecard

What’s all the fuss about?

Since the 1993 publication of Kaplan and Norton's seminal journal article on Balanced Scorecards (BSC) in the Harvard Business Review, numerous case studies have made impressive claims for breakthrough performance in organisations that have implemented the methodology. Their later work on Strategy Mapping (SM) takes this further.  Their approach  poses two questions:

What is the need that BSC/SM is fulfilling?

Strategy is great in theory, but when competing with more urgent day-to-day operations, some stark facts emerge:

  • 90% of organisations fail to implement their top team's strategy.
  • 70% of these failures come not from poor strategy but from poor execution.
  • 85% of executive teams have less than one hour per month to discuss strategy.
  • 95% of the workforce does not understand their organisation's strategy and their part in it.
  • 60% of organisations do not link budgets to strategy.
The Balanced Scorecard is a performance management system focused on strategic measures. In addressing all of the issues above, it:
  • Encapsulates strategy on a concise one-page document
  • Balances financial and non-financial goals
  • Can be quickly updated in response to fast-changing market conditions
  • Is easy to grasp and communicate throughout the organisation
Have we learned anything about implementation?

If you go down the Balanced Scorecard or Strategy Mapping routes, you can expect the implementation effort to be substantial, even though the method itself is pretty straightforward. When we read the case studies, the potential rewards lure us with their glitter and shine. But, being a major change project, the cost of failure is high. Based on original research by OPDC and others, we’ll show you:
  • How you can diagnose your own organisation's fitness and readiness for Balanced Scorecard, so that you don't go to the unnecessary expense of initiating a non-starter.
  • How you can design-in the critical factors for a successful implementation and dial out the avoidable pitfalls.
Applications

Balanced Scorecard can be used across your whole organisation, within its key functions or simply to manage your critical projects. It provides an excellent working tool for all members of staff, ensuring they are guided at all levels by the same strategic aim. Staff can also use it to monitor whether your strategy is working in practice and give actionable feedback.

Our programmes give an overview of the Balanced Scorecard and enable you to work through a case study before focusing on your own organisation. The initial learning objectives are to enable you to:
  • Understand the Balanced Scorecard or Strategy Mapping concepts
  • Formulate strategic objectives and Critical Success Factors using the Balanced Scorecard framework
  • Identify strategic Measures and Targets
  • Use an effective technique to communicate and get agreement on the Balanced Scorecard within your own organisation
  • Identify possible pitfalls for Balanced Scorecard implementation
  • Assess the suitability of the Balanced Scorecard for your own organisation
Moving forward…

If you then wish to go on to develop the Balanced Scorecard for your own organisation, we help you design and implement the Balanced Scorecard as a project.

If your organisation needs to do further work on the vision or strategy, we can help to accelerate this process through additional support before starting on the Balanced Scorecard.

And beyond…

Just as we can provide support for accelerating the development of your vision or strategy in advance of starting the Balanced Scorecard, we can provide additional support afterwards by helping to fine-tune your final Balanced Scorecard, or by helping with implementation in the rest of the organisation.

Our full range of Balanced Scorecard services include:
  • Audit of your current or proposed Balanced Scorecard or its implementation
  • Balanced Scorecard familiarisation workshop and exploration of BSC suitability for the client organisation
  • Formulating your strategy as a Balanced Scorecard document
  • Rolling out your Balanced Scorecard implementation
  • Coaching the Balanced Scorecard implementation team, including the Balanced Scorecard architect, to run the implementation project
An example of our work in action

One of our clients is a holding company providing niche solutions in the aerospace sector. We have worked with their businesses in North America and the UK to hone their strategic offerings and value propositions and to express these as brief Balanced Scorecards. We helped to involve their own reports in critiquing and extending the scorecards, which were then finalised by the board. The scorecards have been used to communicate and manage strategy, to give focus to business units and provide the basis for objective setting and performance management throughout the businesses.

To discuss how Balanced Scorecards could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Change Management

The successful introduction of a well-conceived change that brings business results is the pinnacle of management practice and job satisfaction. We love it.

But introducing a complex change into your organisation carries substantial, avoidable risks of failure (known to humorists everywhere as ‘mangling change’). These risks are not just to the organisation, but also to the reputations of the managers responsible for delivering the results. 



However, whatever the risks of change, thriving organisations are dynamic systems, continually shaped by new demands that drive such changes as:

  • Fundamental strategic review
  • Reorganising: flatter structures, mergers
  • Customer focus initiatives
  • Introduction of new technology
  • Quality initiatives
  • Acquisitions
  • Diversification of markets or products
Muddy waters…

Complex organisational change typically involves multiple initiatives, but with multiple initiatives so much is going on that it’s often difficult to know which changes are contributing to the success of the organisation and which may be just wasting time and resources.

In this kind of ‘noisy' environment, critical initiatives can end up in competition with less important ones for limited resources. As a result, all initiatives can be compromised: projects not seen through; people reassigned as different initiatives clash; communication lapses as project teams have little progress to report; resistance growing in people who learn to see themselves as the targets or victims of change.

Clarity out of chaos

Today's change managers need to be skilled in change technology, systems thinking and leadership skills - it's a tough challenge. Our system directly addresses the issues that cause strategic change initiatives to fail, and as such we help organisations deliver consistently successful organisational change.

With hundreds of years' collective experience of designing and delivering change initiatives, participants will get the opportunity to plan and prepare their own specific initiatives, using the principal elements of this approach:
  • A structured comprehensive change life cycle process that covers all stages of a change project, from inception through to project closure and review
  • Clear project roles and organisation because clarity and focus breed success
  • Communication methods and structures to secure involvement and buy-in, including whole systems events designed to mobilise an entire organisation
  • Practical methodology for helping individuals and teams engage in the change and make their personal transition within an optimum time frame
We work with your change leaders to develop their effectiveness so they’re able to:
  • Communicate the change with passion and conviction
  • Develop skilled participatory approaches that enable a team to experience ownership of the change so that it moves with speed
  • Develop strategies for understanding, minimising and, if the resistance cannot be avoided, skillfully working to minimise or eliminate it
  • Work sensitively with people in transition in order to minimise disruption, delay and avoidable resistance
Two examples of our work in action

Project one

A facilities management organisation had won an NHS hospital cleaning contract. The previous supplier had not managed to achieve the targets set for cleanliness and our client needed to make significant changes to the existing organisational structures and processes as well as the organisational culture. OPDC provided skills training and development to senior managers in order to deliver the changes needed. A combination of workshop based skills development supported with 1:1 coaching sessions over a number of months proved most successful.

Project two


An internationally renowned IT solutions organisation set up its own consultancy division offering change management consultancy alongside its technical offerings. OPDC was charged with developing a number of senior managers to become fully fledged change management consultants and the company has now established a successful consulting arm. The development format involved a mixture of classroom based workshops and 1:1 follow-up events.

To discuss how Change Management could help your organisation, please contact us.

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Mindfulness

Only a few years ago the term was used exclusively to describe Buddhist meditative traditions. Now the corporate leadership world is taking a closer look. Recently neuroscience studies from Harvard University have shown that mindfulness training significantly increases brain grey matter concentrations in areas associated with Attention Control, Emotional Regulation and Self Awareness. Further evidence links mindfulness training to increased pre-frontal cortex activity, which is related to happiness and well-being. It has gained worldwide application as a distinctive method to handle emotions.

Currently, in the medical world, mindfulness programmes are used to help with physical problems such as stress, anxiety, hypertension, depression, heart disease and chronic pain. There are further connections, however, to how being mindful in our approach can help us to become more effective business leaders.

People who have trained in mindfulness have been shown to make more rational decisions. During times requiring pressurised decision-making, meditators activate a different network of brain areas compared with non-meditators and that enables them to uncouple negative emotional reactions from their behaviour.

Meditation has also been found to be a highly effective means of training managers in corporate social responsibility. The training significantly raises managers’ levels of care and concern.

Mindfulness programmes have also been shown to raise one’s level of emotional intelligence and improve relationships. Those completing a course of mindfulness  show significant improvements with respect to emotional intelligence, perceived stress and mental health compared to others.

Whether you’re looking to develop yourself, or your company, OPDC provides a tailored programme to help unlock your potential leading to improved performance, growth and, ultimately, success.

What to do next...

All our programmes can be customised to fit your particular professional and personal objectives. For more information please contact us.